Once upon time, a consumer good that was loved and adored was taken from the people, forced out of the limelight and into the shadows, where it thrived in secret, yet everyone longed for the time where they could openly embrace it again. That time was of course the Prohibition era, and alcohol not only survived, but has since flourished. Now we are starting to see the end of prohibition of cannabis, slowly but surely, and, just as we did with alcohol, are seeing a new industry grow, boom and flourish.
The simplest explanation of how the cannabis industry mirrors the craft beer industry is with the vast array of types, each with a different aroma, flavor, and strength. In craft beer you see IPA’s, DIPA’s, Stouts, Lagers, Ales, Porters, etc., and even those can be broken down further. In cannabis you of course have your Indica and Sativa and hybrids, but then also Kush, Diesel, Haze, etc., and then of course can break those down further with all the various offspring.
But looking at it from the business standpoint can be much more interesting. First rule of business is that when a product is in demand, you don’t ignore potentially supplying it to consumers; that’s how businesses die. It is no secret that few products are in more demand right now than cannabis. In both the medical and recreational sides, people not only want cannabis, but want more of it, and that’s something that’s got major players in the alcohol industry taking interest and investing. Legal cannabis sales are expected to rise 25% by 2020, and reach $50 billion by 2026. Over the last 12 years, beer has lost 10% of the market to the wine and spirits sector. During that same time, sales of macro-brews (i.e. Bud Light) declined, while micro-brews (smaller breweries, the true craft-beer makers) sales increased dramatically. What did the large breweries do? Well they of course started purchasing the micro-breweries. Now that cannabis is poised to be one of the largest industries, larger than both manufacturing and even the NFL (and we all know how much the NFL loves beer), we’re seeing these same macro-breweries beginning to purchase and invest in cannabis. It will be fun to see what these new ventures do for the future of cannabis at the societal level. Alcohol has always played a huge role in society, and so too will cannabis.